Residence permits for postgraduates


Once you have completed your studies, you are cordially invited to put your specialist knowledge to good use in Germany. We explain about the applicable rights of residence here.

Students from non-EU states

Students from non-EU states

Germany offers attractive residence permits which enable you to accept a job which befits your line and level of studies. You can obtain them in just two steps:

Step 1 – Residence permit while looking for a job:
You can apply for an 18-month residence permit from your local foreign nationals’ registration office to look for a job that corresponds to your qualifications. During these 18 months, you may take up any kind of employment to support yourself and fund your job search. If you already found a job that corresponds to your qualifications before graduating, you can jump this step. You can apply for your residence permit as soon as you have passed your final exam. To do so, you usually need:

  • Your passport

  • Your university degree: As issuing university diplomas can take some time, an official document from your university stating that you have successfully completed your studies will also suffice. The examination office of your department or faculty will issue this "Nachweis". The document must bear an official stamp.

  • A document proving that you have health insurance: Contact your health insurance fund and ask them to issue a health insurance certificate for you.

  • Proof that you have a means of supporting yourself (for example a bank statement or a document stating that you have been awarded a grant)

We recommend that you ask your local foreign residents’ registration office which documents you need to bring with you before submitting your application. Some local offices provide information about this on the Internet too.

Step 2 – Residence permit for taking up employment: As soon as you have a job offer which corresponds to your qualifications, you can choose whether you want to apply for a German residence permit or an EU Blue Card for the next part of your stay. Various conditions are attached to both these residence permits. Depending on what you are planning to do in the future, either the German residence permit or the EU Blue Card can be advantageous for you. If you intend subsequently to live and work in another EU state, the EU Blue Card may be more advantageous for you than the German residence permit. As the choice of residence permit largely depends on your personal situation, get the advice of your local foreign nationals' registration office when you apply.

We recommend that you ask the foreign residents’ registration office which documents you need to bring with you before submitting your application. Some local offices provide information about this on the Internet too.

The German residence permit or EU Blue Card allowing you to take up employment is issued for a limited period first of all. If you continue to be employed and wish to have your permit extended, you will be able to do this without any problem. As early as two years after receiving your German or EU Blue Card residence permit, you can apply for a permanent residence permit – that is, a residence permit without a time limit. Again, the condition is that you still have employment in Germany.

Are you planning to stay abroad for a lengthy period? If you have an EU Blue Card, you can usually stay abroad for up to twelve months without your Blue Card’s becoming invalid. If you have a German residence permit, you can usually stay abroad for up to six months without your permit’s becoming invalid.
Whatever the case, you are recommended to talk with your local foreign nationals' registration office before leaving Germany for any length of time. If you are planning to spend more than twelve or six months abroad, you must obtain an authorisation from the foreign nationals' registration authority. Without this authorisation, you will not be able to enter Germany again if you have exceeded the period of twelve or six months.

Students from EU states

Students from EU states

As an EU citizen, you can look for and accept employment in Germany without any restrictions.

Citizens of Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia

Citizens of Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia

Bulgarian and Romanian nationals will need an “EU work permit” until April 1st 2014. The same transitional provisions will apply to Croatian workers until June 30, 2015. However, if you are an academic wishing to take up a post corresponding to your university qualification, you do not need a permit. You can find out details from the International Placement Service (ZAV) by calling: 0049 (0)228 713-1313. Otherwise, send an e-mail to: make-it-in-germany(at) You can make enquiries in German or English.



Information on this portal

Visa: Your ticket to a job
Find out whether you need a work permit

Job-hunting: Seek and you will find
Where to go when looking for a job

Which occupations are in demand
Skills that are especially sought after

Information on the World Wide Web

Federal Foreign Office
Information about training, studying and working in Germany (German, English)

Kassel Foreign Nationals’ Registration Office
Changes to the legislation implementing the EU Directive on highly qualified employment (German)

Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)
List of all the foreign nationals’ registration offices in Germany (German, English, Russian, Turkish)

Studying in Germany
Information portal on studying, research and career opportunities in Germany (Germany, English)

British Council (pdf)
Advice on opportunities for studying in Germany in English

Deutsche Welle
Information about opportunities for studying in Germany (German, English, French, Spanish, Chinese, etc.)

German National Association for Student Affairs
Information for foreign students on studying in Germany (German, English)